For Phaltan-based chemist Amol Abasaheb Deshmukh, filmmaking had always been a matter of interest but it never ended up materialising into anything more.
It was an incident in his life, which happened more than a decade ago, that haunted him for years to finally take up the task of making a movie. Instead of taking the project head on, he decided to pick up the nuances of filmmaking and did so, initially, by working as assistant director with some students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII). That’s how it all got started and on May 4, his hard work will bear fruit when he receives the National Award in the Capital for his Marathi film, Aushadh, which has been declared the Best Short Fiction Film.
According to Deshmukh, the film is based on a real life incident that he experienced as a chemist in 2003. “It was afternoon and I had stepped out of my chemist store in Phaltan for lunch. I had instructed my subordinate to handle the customers visiting the store. During my absence, an old lady visited the store and asked for some medicine. Unfortunately, the subordinate got confused with the name and instead of a painkiller, gave her the medicine for blood pressure,” he said, adding that after he reached the store and took details from the subordinate, he discovered the blunder he had made. What kept worrying him was the fact that the wrong dose of medicine could have destabilised her blood pressure. Then he inquired at the doctor’s clinic about the lady’s address but got only her village name and not full address or phone number. The village was about 30-35 kms from Phaltan. The duo headed for the village on a motorbike. After inquiring, they found the woman working in a farm. “Seeing her working, we were relieved. We told her everything honestly. Fortunately, as the dose was to be taken in the morning and in the evening, she had not taken the medicine. We gave her the right medicine and came back,” said Deshmukh. Hence, the film is called Aushadh meaning medicine. While most of it is based on the real incident, Deshmukh said he had added a few fictional elements to the film.
The film was shot in a budget of around Rs 1 lakh in a village named Hanumantwadi, near Phaltan, which is 110 km from Pune. Though the short film does leave a message of kindness and love, Deshmukh, who has been a chemist for 17 years, said, “I didn’t intend to preach through this film or give out any message. I just wanted to share this incident through a film. My genuine concern when this happened was that nothing should happen to the lady. The process of filmmaking is something that my team and I enjoyed a lot. The National Award was a cherry on the cake.”
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